Fixing message transfer agents an opportunity

Improvements in e-mail gateways (MTA — Message Transfer Agent), including their integration with security functions, can significantly reduce the amount of IT labour required to maintain a messaging system, a new Osterman Research study has concluded.

The firm also found enterprises

spend on average more than 50 hours per week and $214,000 per year maintaining their e-mail gateway, suggesting that large organizations should seriously consider replacing their current MTA with one that provides better performance.

The study, which was sponsored by Markham, Ont.-based BorderWare Technologies Inc., includes responses from CIOs and IT staff at various levels, found that MTA management consumes about 35 per cent of all of the IT staff time devoted to managing a messaging system in an environment with a large number of users. The other 65 per cent of IT labor investments are devoted, in large part, to managing e-mail security functions, including anti-virus, anti-spam, content filtering, secure messaging and related functions.

Based on conservative estimates, Osterman projected that an enterprise of 5,000 users can save more than $9 per user per year if it can reduce the time that IT spends on MTA management by only 30 per cent, and the time it spends on security management by only 20 per cent.

The study also identified that the four most important attributes for messaging systems (defined as being important or extremely important by at least 80 per cent of organizations) are reliability (97 per cent), security (91 per cent), integration with security services (90 per cent) and messaging throughput (84 per cent).

There is a significant level of dissatisfaction with current MTAs, said Michael Osterman, president of Osterman Research.

“”We found that if organizations had the option of replacing their current MTAs with one that provided substantially better performance, better reliability, better security and greater visibility into the e-mail infrastructure, 77 per cent of organizations would consider doing so,”” Osterman said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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